In this post we will look at some additional information you can automatically add to your posts to help your readers decide which content to read next.
This useful information you can publish includes data such as the length of an individual post and how long it will take to read, as well as publically publishing the number of page views for individual posts.
We will also cover how you can allow your readers to view the changes you’ve made to your content since it was first published. By sharing this information, and also publishing post revisions where appropriate, you should be able to highlight your best content, publically track changes, and let your readers know the time investment required to ingest one of your posts.
Display Post Revisions to Your Readers
If you want to make any of the changes you make to a published post available to your readers, allowing them to compare versions and revisions, then the free Post Revision Display plugin is just what you need.
By adding this feature to your site, you can help make your posts more transparent, as any edits and updates can easily be tracked and viewed by readers. If you make any updates to the services you offer, such as the details of a product or terms and conditions, visitors can review the changes you’ve made.
If you are a blogger and you change your opinion on something, or the details in a post are updated, then the previous versions can be kept on your site and remain visible to your readers. Again this can help build trust with your audience.
Despite not being updated for over two years, Post Revision Display works on WordPress 4.0 (the latest version at the time of writing). Through the settings the plugin can be set to work on post, pages, or both.
Notes on revisions are displayed at the end of a post or page. If no revisions have been made then the notice will reflect this, otherwise the data and time of each revision will be listed.
Each revision entry is a link which when clicked, displays the two versions of the post side by side, highlighting the revisions.
This free plugin will give you the freedom of updating your content without worrying about confusing or deceiving readers as anyone can see the changes.
Display Word Count and Post Reading Time to Visitors
Another way to provide more information about your content to your would be readers is to display the word count and estimated post reading time to them before each post.
This can your visitors decide whether to take the time to read your post now, save it for later using a service like Pocket, or keep browsing your site for a shorter article.
The quickest way to add this information to your posts is to install the free Post Stats plugin.
After installing Post Stats, it the settings give you the option of displaying the stats to the reader before each post, and/or adding a widget to the dashboard that provides logged in users with some extra stats. You can also set the default words per minute someone can read at, which is used to calculate the estimated reading time.
The message that is displayed to readers is nice and clear, although if you would prefer other text to accompany the stats, then you will have to edit the plugin code, via the editor on the dashboard.
The dashboard widget is a nice touch ant it displays your shortest and longest posts, the sum total of the words published on your site, and the average words per post.
It would be nice if you could enable and disable this on a per post basis, or at least turn it off for pages. However, the plugin does what it sets out to do and makes it very easy to display to your readers how much time they will need to invest in order to read one of your posts.
Publish Post Views to Highlight Your Best Content
A quick way to direct new visitors to your best content, or at least the content that has resonated the most with your audience, is to make it easy for visitors to see which of your published content has been the most popular so far.
One way to do this is to display the page views for each individual post on your website. Not only does this let your readers instantly see how many times a particular article has been accessed, but making your WordPress stat publically available is an effective way to display authority and social proof to your new visitors.
If a new visitor unintentionally stumbles across your website, a quick way to convey to them that your content is popular is to display this user metric. Just like a social share plugin can show how many times your content has been shared, and therefore how popular it is a publically displayed page view counter can do the same.
Thankfully there is a quick way to implement this in WordPress by using a free plugin.
Post Views Counter
Post Views Counter is a free plugin designed for publicly displaying the number of page views each post has received on the individual posts themselves.
While there are a number of plugins available that can add this functionality to your website, Post Views Counter is a good choice due to its set of options and nice user interface.
You can also display a new column on the posts screen on your WordPress admin area which shows the view count, making it easy to identify your most read content on the back end.
Other options and settings of the Post Views Counter plugin include:
- Set the time interval between visits for registering a new view
- How often to reset the data
- Which post types to enable the counter for
- Exclude visitors by type (robots, logged in, guests, per role)
- Exclude visitor by IP address
- Import post views data from the WP-PostViews plugin
When it comes to displaying the post views count, you also get a few handy options for controlling how this information is displayed to your readers:
- Label text preceding the post views count
- Post types to display the count on
- Hide the display from logged in users, guests, or individual roles
- Where to display the counter: before or after post content, or manually via shortcode
- Display icon and/or label
- Icon class for choosing an icon type
Post View Counter also gives you a good set of options covering who can see your counter and how it is displayed. As you can manually choose which posts the counter is displayed on by using the included shortcode, you can opt to only display it on your most popular content. This can help make your most viewed content more appealing, while preventing your readers from avoiding posts with a low view count until they get more traffic.
With the idea being that if 1,000 others have read the particular post your new visitor lands on, then that content must have some merit. Combine that with a healthy comment count and large number of social media shares, and these metrics should do a good job of convincing a new visitor to stick around.
As you only get one chance to make a first impression, displaying the number of page views your best content has received can be an effective way of conveying trust and authority to new visitors to your website.
These three methods of displaying more information about your content to your readers should hopefully help them get even more out of your content.
By making your post-publication revisions visible to your readers, you can help readers and those who link to your content keep track of the story you are covering as it evolves and your content gets updated.
Word counts and estimated reading times can help your visitors decide which of your posts to tackle next, depending on whether they are looking for something in depth or a more brief article.
By implementing some of these features, and using the plugins out there that serve to enable them on your site you should be able to help your readers make informed decisions when on your site and also help convey a bit of authority and social proof.
What other information would you like to see published about online content?